Michael Joseph | 14 September 2021 | 496 pgs
Source: Library 

To begin with, I think this is more of a domestic drama than a psychological thriller. That said, it does have a mystery aura though, but there's not much action or intensity but lots of family drama, guessing games and miscommunication. 

Joy and Stan Delaney used to coach and run a tennis academy but have sold their business for their retirement. They've four grown-up children (Amy, Logan, Troy and Brooke) and although they're all trained by their parents since young, they aren't good enough to be successful and as the years go by, their interest for tennis waned and each pursue their own success either by getting married or venture into something else. 

The Delaney children understand their parents' passion for tennis and Joy's enthusiasm in running the business, but they all knew that they would never forget about their star student, Harry Haddad who once walked away from them years ago at the peak of his performance, leaving the parents feeling despair and betrayed at the same time, especially Stan. But they've somewhat walk out from that gloom and are looking at spending a relaxing life while occasionally fretting about their adult children when a stranger knocks at their door one night. A young woman named Savannah claims she's running away from her abusive boyfriend and of course, Joy and Stan couldn't turn her away. Savannah's overnight stay at the Delaneys soon extends to staying with them like a tenant since Joy and Stan enjoy her company and most of all, she's a good cook. The children, on the other hand, feel their family space being invaded yet they could do nothing about it. Then Joy goes missing one day and Savannah is nowhere to be found. The scratch marks on Stan's face is suspicious to the police so naturally he becomes a suspect. Not all of the Delaneys children believe that their father is guilty; and this is where all the doubts come in as the reader watch the story unfolds between the present and what happened leading to Joy's disappearance. 

This story was great for the characters developments and the family dynamics but you'd be disappointed if you're looking for suspense and thrill as they're minimal. Basically it revolves around the relationship among the Delaneys and how Savannah's intrusion is the fuse to their calm (or make-believe) life. It's a great exploration of the connection and the complexity between people; how communications can be easily misinterpreted and that looks may be deceiving. The book was funny at times despite the content and while it was an interesting read, I find it to be a bit long and dragging. I'm not too sure how I felt about the ending though; there was closure but I felt it was somewhat anticlimactic. Perhaps I dived into this book with a different expectation and viewpoint so overall it was an average read to me. 

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16 Responses
  1. Kay Says:

    Nice review, Melody! Yes, I was ultimately not the biggest fan of this particular Moriarty book. You made a good case for the family aspects of the book, but I agree that it's not a thriller or wasn't for me. ;-)

  2. I have the audio but waiting for the library print copy for a combo read/listen as it's rather long. Most reviewers seem a bit disappointed it seems.

  3. Lark Says:

    I don't really like these kinds of domestic dramas, so I probably won't be reading this one.

  4. Melody Says:

    Kay - I've not read many of her books so I can't compare this with the rest. I think I've Nine Perfect Strangers in my pile, I'll probably read that should the mood calls for it. Have you read that book?

  5. Melody Says:

    Diane - Yep, it's rather long for a story like this. It was a disappointing read from the suspense viewpoint. Hopefully her next book will be better.

  6. Melody Says:

    Lark - Domestic dramas or thrillers are hit or miss to me. I read them because they're usually character-driven and a look of the human characteristics under various circumstances. ;)

  7. jenclair Says:

    As much as I enjoyed her first book, I've not felt the same about some of the others. I'll give this one a miss.

  8. Iliana Says:

    I enjoy domestic dramas but if I was expecting more of a thriller then I would be a bit bummed out by this one too. I've only read one of her books which I did like a lot but probably not rushing to get to this one.

  9. I have enjoyed Moriarty before. She is good with character development, although not all her stories appeal to me. This one sounds interesting although I would have hoped for more thriller-like from the description. It is too bad it did not deliever that.

  10. cleemckenzie Says:

    I just finished one of her books (I used the audio version) and listened to the opening chapter of this one. I was intrigued. Haven't gotten it yet, but I'm planning on it.

  11. Melody Says:

    Jenclair - I have not read many of her books but I understand some of them are so-so based on the reviews. I suppose I'll have to choose based on the premise and what the readers feel about each book. ;)

  12. Melody Says:

    Iliana - I guess I was expecting a bit more of this book so that's why I was a bit disappointed. Still, it was a good read from another perspective.

  13. Melody Says:

    Wendy - Indeed, Wendy. Hopefully her next book will be better.

  14. Melody Says:

    Cleemckenzie - I'll be curious of your thoughts if you do read this, cleemckenzie. :)

  15. Susan Says:

    I actually LOVED this book. It's one of my favorites by Moriarty, but it's looking like I'm going to be in the minority on that. I just loved that APPLES NEVER FALL did something different that surprised and actually delighted me.

  16. Melody Says:

    Susan - It was a good read but I was expecting it to be more of a fast-paced thriller. I'm glad you loved this book, Susan. I think I'd have loved this more should I jump into it with a different expectation.

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